Dumbbell HIIT workouts for women

Are you looking for a workout routine that’s both challenging and time-efficient? Look no further than dumbbell HIIT workouts!

HIgh-intensity interval workouts combine high-intensity interval training with strength exercises using dumbbells to help you build lean muscle, boost your metabolism and get your heart pumping in just a short amount of time.

dumbbell HIIT lateral raises

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What is HIIT?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of cardiovascular exercise that alternates between intense bursts of work and active recovery periods.

HIIT workouts are designed to increase your heart rate and burn calories in a short amount of time, making it an efficient way to fit in a cardio session.

There are various work-to-rest ratios you can use. Two of my favorites are 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest, 40 seconds of work with 20 seconds of rest

Benefits of HIIT Workouts

Burns more calories than steady-state cardio

HIIT workouts are designed to alternate between intense bursts of activity and periods of rest or active recovery. This type of training has been shown to burn more calories than traditional steady-state cardio because it keeps your heart rate elevated for longer periods of time.

Increases endurance and cardiovascular health

HIIT workouts challenge your body to work harder than during a steady-state cardio workout. This can help increase your endurance and cardiovascular health by strengthening your heart and lungs.

Boosts metabolism for hours after the workout 

HIIT training can boost your metabolism for hours after exercising. Your body will continue to burn calories after you’ve finished your workout.

HIIT training be done anywhere with little to no equipment

HIIT workouts are a great option for people who don’t have access to a gym or prefer to work out at home. All you need is a little space and a timer to get started.

Incorporating Dumbbells

Dumbbells are an excellent exercise tool to help you build lean muscle and improve overall strength.

Adds resistance training

Dumbbells can help you build strength and increase the intensity of your workout. This is important for maximizing the benefits of your HIIT workout since you want to challenge your muscles and cardiovascular system as much as possible.

Can work a wide range of exercises

You can use them for a wide range of exercises, from upper body moves like bicep curls and shoulder presses to lower body moves like squats and lunges. This means you can create a full-body workout that targets all your major muscle groups.

Use them at home or in the gym

Dumbbells are a great option for people who prefer to work out at home or have no gym access. They’re inexpensive and take up very little space, making them an easy tool to incorporate into your home workout routine.

Upper Body Exercises

Here are some dumbbell exercises to include in your dumbbell HIIT workout to target your upper body:

Dumbbell bicep curls

  • Adjust the bench’s backrest to a 45-60 degree angle.
  • Lean back and sit on the bench. Then hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip and hang your arms straight down.
  • As you exhale, flex at the elbow bringing the dumbbells up as far as you can while keeping your elbow position fixed and maintaining straight, strong wrists. As you curl the weight, rotate your forearm to a supinated position (palm up). Your upper arms should be nearly perpendicular to the floor at the top.
  • As you inhale, reverse the movement and slowly bring the dumbbells back down to the starting position.

Overhead press

dumbbell HIIT workout shoulder press
  • From a seated or standing position, hold a heavy dumbbell in each hand by your side.
  • Press the dumbbells straight overhead, keeping elbows narrow. At the top of the dumbbell press, rotate the dumbbells so your palms face out (away from you).
  • As you lower the dumbbells, elbows should go wide, arms bent at 90 degrees (like goal posts). Keep your elbows in line with your shoulders rather than letting them drop down.

Lateral raises

dumbbell HIIT lateral raises
dumbbell HIIT lateral raises
  • Start in the standing position, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, your abs tight and your chest up.
  • Hold the dumbbells at either side, retaining a neutral grip.
  • Using just your shoulders and arms, raise the dumbbells out to your side until your arms are parallel to the ground.
  • Lower dumbbells back to the starting position — with control.

Chest press or bench press

dumbbell HIIT lateral raises
dumbbell HIIT chest presses
  • Adjust the seat so that the handles are resting at your chest level.
  • Keep your feet firmly on the floor while pressing your upper back into the bench.
  • Press the handles forward until your arms are straight.
  • With control, lower the handles back into the starting position.

Variations: Incline chest press, Smith machine chest press

Lower Body Exercises

To target your lower body, include these dumbbell exercises in your HIIT workout:

Goblet squats

dumbbell HIIT goblet squat
  • Hold the dumbbell vertically, gripping it with both hands underneath the top of the weight. Keep the dumbbell close to your chest throughout the entire movement.
  • Point your knees in the same direction as your toes.
  • Inhale and begin to squat, sitting back in your hips, keeping your core tight and chest upright.
  • If your level of flexibility allows it, track your elbows between your knees, stopping when they touch.
  • Drive through your heels back to the starting position. Keep your feet flat on the floor throughout the movement.

Reverse Lunge

single leg exercise lunges
  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand and place your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Step forward with your left leg until the thigh is parallel to the floor. 
  • Push through your heel and lift yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Variations: Forward lunge, curtsy lunge


A compound exercise that primarily works the muscles in your posterior chain (the back of your body).

dumbbell deadlifts
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart while holding a pair of dumbbells in front of you.
  • Bend at the hips and knees, lowering your torso until it’s almost parallel with the floor as if you are closing a door with your glutes.
  • Allow your arms to hang down in front of your knees and shins. Make sure you keep your back in a neutral position.
  • You should lower yourself into position slowly and in a controlled manner. 
  • From this position, stand up straight while keeping your back in a straight line (neutral position).
  • Squeeze your glutes as you straighten, pushing through the ball and heel of your foot. 

Variations: Stiff-legged deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, Hex bar deadlifts


Unilateral exercise that focuses on your quads and can improve muscle imbalances

  • Place a bench in front of you and grab a dumbbell in each hand, or use just your body weight.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with one leg onto the step and drive through that thigh to bring your body upward.
  • Bring the trailing leg to the top of the step and stand on the bench, then step back with the opposite leg to the floor and lower yourself.
  • Alternate legs with each rep. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tip: Try to keep the weight on your front leg that is on the bench.

Bulgarian split squats

A great way to add a unilateral exercise into your lower body workout to help with imbalances and improve quad strength.

dumbbell HIIT workout bulgarian split squat
  • Stand in front of a step, bench or elevated platform with your back toward it.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand at hip level. 
  • Place your right leg on the top of the bench and take a step forward with the opposite leg.  
  • Brace your core and lower yourself by bending your left knee until it reaches 90 degrees.  
  • Push through your foot and bring yourself back to the start.  
  • Finish your set and switch legs.  

Dumbbell HIIT Workout

To create a dumbbell HIIT workout, combine dumbbell exercises for a compound workout that can be done in a short period of time.

You can do a full body workout or target major muscle groups. From your legs to your shoulders, to your chest muscles and back muscles. 

*This workout is 45 seconds working and 15 seconds of rest. Repeat each exercise for a total of 3-4 rounds.

Dumbbell goblet squat x 45 sec

Dumbbell seated shoulder press x 45 sec 

Dumbbell Bulgarian split squats x 45 seconds

Dumbbell lateral raises x 45 seconds

Dumbbell lunges x 45 seconds

FAQs High-Intensity Interval Workouts

HIIT cardio provides different benefits to steady-state cardio.

Two to three HIIT workouts per week are good. You want to give your body at least 24 hours of rest and recovery between sessions. This includes other kinds of strength training workouts that you may be doing.

HIIT workouts can range from 4 minutes up to 30 minutes, but an average length is around 10-20 minutes.

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